Breakout

Facebook inches closer to the abyss: Phil Pearlman

Breakout

Will anyone be happy that Facebook is going to run autoplay video advertisements in your feed?

No.

Will it matter?

Probably not, but continued deterioration in the user experience on Facebook increases the risk of a sudden and precipitous migration away from the platform. It is the point at which people become fed up and move somewhere else, perhaps to a newer site, where there are fewer interruptions.

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Facebook, I am sure, is aware of this risk and so they have likely tested the ads on a small percentage of users and determined that the increased advertising revenue outweighs this deterioration in the user experience or the incremental risk that people might leave the platform.

Elasticity of user experience is high. That is, people will likely put up with a good deal of inconvenience before they abandon things that they highly value about the Facebook platform such as their history in photographs or accumulated social graph.

Still, there is a threshold - a point at which a Facebook or any application no matter how dear can go too far in eroding the user experience for the sake of revenue - at which time loyal and longtime users might migrate away from it as quickly as they did with MySpace or Digg during the previous generation of social platforms.

Where that threshold lies is impossible for anyone, even Zuckerberg, to know for sure and so we all watch and check our feed as the behemoth inches just a bit closer to it.

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